For the ENGL 112 class I taught this semester for Mesa State College, I required the students to create and use del.icio.us accounts to keep track of web sites they found during their research. This assignment was worth 50 out of 1000 points possible for the class (5%).
Out of the 24 students enrolled in the class, 15 submitted the required research paper. Those 15 students had the following numbers of bookmarks in their accounts: 2, 3, 6, 18, 18, 19, 27, 27, 28, 28, 30, 31, 38, 56, 83. The average number of bookmarks is 27.6, and the median is 27. I awarded two points per bookmark up through 25, 50 points total for 26 through 30 bookmarks, and up to ten extra points for students who had more than 30 bookmarks.
In their final entry in their research journals (blogs), I asked the students to “discuss the usefulness and effectiveness of the internet tools you used in the class: the blog, the del.icio.us bookmarks, and the class wiki.” From their comments, it was clear that they found the bookmarking service the most useful (I’m not including students’ names or links to their blogs in order to protect their privacy):
- “The del.icio.us account was invaluable, and it helped keep me organize, and remember where I had found things without having to print off reams of paper. I also liked it because is really simplified the ‘works cited’ process.”
- “I found that the most useful tool was “delicious”. It made organizing the research paper so much easier. I was able to easily add, research and go back to the useful sites. I found it very useful when I was at the library and needed to look up a site for reference.”
- “I found the del.icio.us site to be the most helpful research tool, it was a way to organize things and make it easier to keep track of sites when moving from computer to computer. I have even tagged personal sites on my del.icio.us account.”
- “The del.icio.us bookmarks, saved me, I am horrible at writing things down, and this account let me bookmark the page and also leave notes to myself for each link.”
- “The del.icio.us bookmarks helped me keep my sources that I had used all in the same place that were easy to use so I never forgot where I had found information. It allowed me to be able to go back to it multiple times, and the notes that you could add in the box also helped me remember what specifically the source had in it before I even clicked on it.”
I plan to write about their comments on the blogs at a later date.